Everyday Grace

Searching for goodness in the ordinary

Day 30: Together // 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness


photo: Miguel Constantin Montes

Hi there! This is day 30 of a series I’m writing this October called 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. You can find the entire series here: 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness.

It’s 4:00 AM and I should be asleep, but instead I’m cleaning the toilet. Fix it, Jesus. Why would I trade precious sleep for the dirtiest job in the house? Let me regale you.

It’s been stressful around here lately and it seems like wherever stress goes, mess is its BFF. The livability of my apartment is directly correlated to how much energy I have and how I’m feeling. On a scale of Netflix to exercise, I’d say cleaning is about an 8. I don’t completely despise it, but if there’s anything more fun I can be doing instead, I’ll probably pick that and put off the cleaning for another day. The problem comes when another day doesn’t come for a while. I feel like people don’t talk about this much, but I’m just gonna say it: how dare things get dirty so quickly after I JUST cleaned them three months ago! THE NERVE. You’re telling me there are some people who wash, dry, fold, and iron their clothes all in one day? Don’t even get me started on more-frequent-than-biannual mopping. The real question: It’s the year of our Lord 2017. Why hasn’t someone invented the smart house from that Disney Channel Original movie yet, that magically vacuums everything up INTO THE WALLS when you press a button? This is the only technological advance I care about. Get on this, science. I just want a house that will clean itself, for the love.

And as someone who has felt like I have no excuse for not having an immaculate home because I don’t have kids yet, lean in close, fellow unmarried 20-somethings because have I got a secret for you: it’s not just parents who struggle with keeping the house clean. It’s mostly everybody, and it’s okay. You’re not the only one who doesn’t understand why the dishes have the audacity to expect to be done every day. (Can we live?) Or maybe for you it’s not dishes; maybe you’re in school and struggling with homework. Maybe you aren’t great at grocery shopping and errands, and it seems like everyone you know has Pinterest-worthy meal planning skills. Don’t beat yourself up about it, because the truth is most of us are at least one or two flavors of hot mess.

I think there are lots of us who need to develop a better rhythm for daily life and just staying on top of it. I just feel off when my apartment doesn’t feel harmonious, and a big part of that for me is keeping it clean. It’s almost like clutter and mess in my home become representative of the clutter and mess taking up space in my soul. I’ve definitely been feeling that sense that something is just off lately, which is why I’m cleaning this toilet when I should be in bed. I’m pretty sure the last time I cleaned it this thoroughly, Obama was in office. Bless. We’re getting real today in this post. I’m hoping it will encourage somebody out there reading to know that they’re not the only one.

Let’s be real, there are times I say a prayer for my someday children over my spazzy housework, that they would not be raised in filth and squalor:

Our Father who art in heaven,

Hallowed be my broom.

Thy kingdom come, my laundry done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And please Jesus, help me not flip out if my future kiddos get the crumbs from their daily bread onto every. Single. Inch of surface area in my home. And help me get a handle on all this business before they get here, whenever that will be. Amen.

The truth is, if I can barely manage to pick up after myself and being a mom is as hard as people say, my someday-kids are going to be in trouble. Or they will learn to help out and grab a vacuum REAL quick. Basically I need to get myself together before I can handle getting anyone else together.

Yeah, my desk does *not* look this nice. Also who keeps a pineapple on their desk? // photo:
Pineapple Supply Co.

Anyway, so tonight I’m cleaning the toilet at 4:00 AM, because it was hopelessly disgusting and I had been letting it go for far too long, and I was on my way to bed but it just looked so awful that I had to do something about it. So I did. And this is the way forward into all the things I’ve been putting off.

Over a lifetime of procrastination and laziness, and suffering needlessly because of it, I’ve noticed two things. One is that if you keep telling yourself you stink because this is not that hard and you should be able to just do it, everyone else can do it, etc., you are making it eleventy thousand times harder on yourself to actually do the thing. If housework is hard for you, it’s okay to just admit that to yourself. It actually helps you move forward. Try changing your self-talk to something like this: This thing is actually pretty hard. But I’m going to do it anyway. For some reason, acknowledging that the task is hard for us is a judo move that actually frees us from self-condemnation. It changes I can’t even handle something this easy into I can do hard things. 

The second thing I’ve noticed is that I might be a hot mess, but the magic happens when I admit it. Jesus can then step in and do great things with my honesty to get me together. It’s like calling out for a lifeguard – you have to admit you’re drowning before he can jump in and recover you. The second I admit I’m drowning and wave my arms, the God who rescues can jump in and set me right.

Trying to do things on our own generally leads to realizing that’s not going to work. But when we admit we are a mess, that’s when the power of the Lord can do great things in our weakness. His power is strong where we fail and falter. When we run out of kindness, He has a stockpile. We can grab some patience on loan from Him (He’s got storehouses full). He is a God of abundance, not scarcity. We don’t need to worry about being enough, because we’re not but He is – and we are free to be who we are, and let Him be God.

What does it look like to let Him in and let Him help? It mostly looks like just asking. I say something like, “Jesus, I know you’re good at everything but I am super not. I’m going to need some help with this thing. Will you lend me some of Your ______ when mine runs out? Can we do this together? Thanks for showing up for me when I need You.”

So for now, He threw me a little energy and motivation to clean the toilet I’d been putting off. Maybe tomorrow I’ll tackle scrubbing out the bathtub. Little by little, we’ll get my life on track, together. Things always seem to work a little better that way. What have you been trying to do all by yourself that might work better if you let Jesus in on it so He can help? I know I’m not the only one standing in that place. Leave a comment letting me know how I can encourage you forward!


4 Responses to Day 30: Together // 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness

  1. What a refreshing post. You hit the nail on the head when it comes to the struggle to keep a home clean – with or without kids. I’m a fellow Write 31 blogger who is behind in my cleaning and my 31 day writing. Thanks for your honesty and for sharing the gospel right in midst of your struggle. It’s simply beautiful!

    • Robin, we’ve got this! If you need a nudge of accountability with the cleaning or the writing just let me know – you know I get it. HA. Only one more day of October and then at least you can catch up in peace without the content due dates piling up! 💗

  2. Thanks for being real Cattie! Keeping a house clean is hard especially in October with write31days. I try and pace myself and do a little each day – but never do I get the laundry washed, dried, folded and put away in the same day. It is just an endless load. LOL!

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